GMOs and pesticides: a toxic mix

Background - 25 August, 2015
Industrial ag is a system with an expiration date. It’s only a few decades old but just start adding up the environmental costs we are incurring by his broken system. More and more polluted waterways, clear-cut forests, inhumane treatment of livestock and megatons of greenhouse gases. It’s quite simply unsustainable.

So many of the foods we eat everyday are sprayed again and again with pesticides before landing on our table. There are countless studies on how certain pesticides lead to increased cancer risk and contribute to diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, especially amongst farmers. Unborn children are especially vulnerable because pesticides have been linked to birth defects.

What most people don’t know is the connection between GMOs and pesticides: The surge in genetically engineered crops in the past few decades is one the main causes of the increasing use of pesticides and chemicals in agriculture. As a matter of fact, GE crops directly promote an industrial and chemical intensive model of farming harmful to people, the environment and wildlife.

Because of corporate pressure, millions like us are denied the right to know about where GMOs occur in the food chain. Mandatory GMO labelling is the rule in only a handful of countries. Giant ag firms insist that GMO crops are not harmful to humans, because they profit more if people believe that. But scientists know we simply don’t have enough evidence to make that claim. What we know about GMOs is just the tip of the iceberg.

Beyond that, giant ag firms should not have the right to patent nature itself. We all own the bounty of the earth collectively together. We shouldn’t accept a world where chemical giants go after small farmers because a patented seed accidentally blew into his field and transformed his crop. GMOs threaten the independence of farmers to provide healthy food to us all.

Tractor in Soya Field in Brazil. 1 Mar, 2006 © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

Facts You Should Know

  • Mandatory GMO labelling is the rule in 64 countries, but major markets like the United States, Canada, Argentina and most of continental Africa do not require it.

  • Monsanto is the top producer of GMO seeds in the world, which are designed to resist the toxic weedkiller RoundUp that it also sells. As a result, the use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 15 times since GMOs were introduced. Glyphosate, the active ingredient of RoundUp, was reclassified as a carcinogenic by the World Health Organization.

  • Pesticide use has increased by 404 million pounds from the time genetically engineered crops were introduced back in 1996.

What You Can Do

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